Tag Archives: Brandon Malin

Roundup: Betty Lou Cummings, Wizard Of Oz, Painting With A Twist, More


Back in the day — the mid-1950s — Betty Lou Cummings was a Michigan State University cheerleader — one of the first female cheerleaders in the entire Big Ten.

After moving to Westport, she became a cheerleader for Westport. She volunteered with a host of organizations — the Westport Library, Senior Center, CLASP Homes — and led the fall Apple Festival for 2 decades. She was elected to the Representative Town Meeting.

In the 1990s, she served as Westport’s 2nd selectman. She ran as a Republican, with Joe Arcudi.

In 2011, the Republicans gained control of several town boards and commissions, after a 14-year hiatus. “We’re back!” Betty Lou told WestportNow.

Now 86, Betty Lou Cummings still cheers for causes that are important to her. Yesterday, Michigan State played Rutgers in football. She dressed in green, gamely grinning through the bad loss.

She also cheered for her presidential candidate. But the longtime Republican is not supporting President Trump.

She’s a Joe Biden fan — as the sign outside her Saugatuck Shores home proudly shows.

In fact, the former Republican 2nd selectman is now a registered Democrat.


When Staples Players fans around the world turn in to tonight’s broadcast of “The Wizard of Oz” (6 p.m., WWPT, 90.3 FM; for the livestream, click here ), they’ll enjoy an old-fashioned radio broadcast, complete with sound effects, music and local ads.

Actors who normally perform on stage have been rehearsing — via Zoom, and occasionally together — for weeks. But other members of the high school’s award-winning troupe have been hard at work too.

Players head of computer sound effects/sound designer Brandon Malin sends along these behind-the-scenes photos. Here’s the live sound effects equipment in the WWPT-FM radio studio:

And here is the control room, where all the magic happens:

(Photos/Brandon Malin)


Painting With a Twist — the fun, quirky, do-it-yourself-together spot in the Julian’s Post Road shopping center near South Maple — is closing. Their last day after 7 years is December 12.

In a note to their fans, they say “the plaza where we are located is being converted for another use.”

They add:

We have had such fun, rewarding experiences with all of you and we carry so many happy memories of helping you celebrate your personal milestones, your festive gatherings with friends and family, and your creative nights out. We hope we have given all of you an escape from your cares and some joyful, festive time that has inspired you and uplifted your spirits.

The artists and I will all miss seeing your smiling faces and spending time in our beautiful studio, surrounded by all our colorful art and all the great music that ignites the soul.

But we still have almost 2 more months! So we hope you’ll come and enjoy some time with us. Plan your girls night out, holiday party, company team building event, date night, child’s birthday party, or just join a public class to forget your concerns and have some fun!

If you’d rather, you can paint in the comfort of home with one of our Twist at Home kits.


And finally … Jerry Jeff Walker died Friday, of complications from throat cancer. He was 78.

Best known for writing “Mr. Bojangles” after spending a night in a New Orleans drunk tank — though the song was not, as many people think, about the legendary tap dancer/actor/singer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson — Walker was also an enormously influential figure in the Austin music scene. He helped create “outlaw country,” popularized as well by Willie Nelson and others.

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 2 Gallery

Last week, “06880” debuted “0*6*Art*Art*0.”

Every Saturday, we’ll share readers’ artwork. Professional, amateur, old, young  — send us your painting, collage, sketch, photo, sculpture, chalkwork, cartoon, whatever.

The only rule is it must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through. We’re all experiencing tons of emotions, and art is a wonderful way to express (and share) them. Email your submission to dwoog@optonline.net.

Here is today’s gallery.

Keep the submissions coming. If yours is not posted yet, be patient. There will be more next Saturday. And, unfortunately, for some time to come.

Joanie Landau’s “Hope” was inspired by Robert Indiana’s “Love.”

Brandon Malin’s medium is photography. The Staples High School senior’s drone shot of downtown Westport — empty at night, in the midst of the pandemic — is striking.

Untitled, Beth DeVoll

Artwork by Merri Mueller’s young Fillow Street neighbors Addie and Nora (ages 4 and 6)

“Compassion” (Miggs Burroughs)

Ellen Greenberg made “The Birds and the Bees” for a friend’s first baby shower (postponed now until after the birth). She dropped it in a sealed bag at her friend’s house. The expectant mom is a beekeeper. “I want her to remember their joy, and the love of all their friends during these challenging times,” Ellen says.

Amy Schneider’s collage expresses how she feels these days.

“Peaceful Valley” (Laura Loffredo, age 8)

“The Low Hum of Anxiety” (Jennifer Sabella)

“Comforting” (Lawrence Weisman)

Julie Van Norden painted this last year. “Prophetic about social distancing,” she says.

Emma Nordberg, age 15, took this photo during the first week of quarantine. “Despite the virus, it’s a beautiful spring,” she says.

The Dog Days Of Brandon Malin

As the thermometer heads toward 95 — with plenty of that nice Westport humidity — it’s a good day to take note of some new signs around town.

Sure, we think there are too many. But a few new ones are well worth reading.

And heeding.

Last spring, Brandon Malin — a Coleytown Middle School 8th grader — spearheaded a drive to remind drivers not to leave children or pets in cars that quickly turn sweltering, even on mild days. He got the idea from similar signs in Fairfield parking lots.

With the help of the Staples High School art department — and the support of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, First Selectman Jim Marpe and other town officials — he saw the project through to completion. (Brandon also raised money to produce the signs.)

They’re up now at Compo Beach and Longshore. Hopefully, downtown lots will be next.

One of Brandon Malin’s signs (under an already-decorated one) at Compo Beach …

The signs say: “If you love them, don’t leave them. Heat Kills!” Below that is the Police Department phone number to report a child or animal in a car, and the reminder: “One call can save a life.”

Heat like today’s makes all of us a bit fuzzy-headed.

Thanks to Brandon, we can focus a bit more clearly on the people and pets we love.

… and another at Longshore.

Brandon Malin Drones Over Westport

The skies over Westport are filled with drones.

But Brandon Malin’s occupies a special place.

He’s still a middle school student. (He moves up to Staples from Coleytown later this month.) But that hasn’t stopped Brandon from producing a video that shows off our town in fresh, intriguing and loving ways.

For more than a year, he compiled footage of Westport from the air. It took 3 months to edit down to the finished product.

Brandon plans to continue filming Westport — and locations beyond — with his quadcopter.

How’s that for a head’s-up!

Heat Kills!

Last summer, a Ridgefield toddler died when he was left inside a parked car.

Brandon Malin — a Coleytown Middle School 8th grader — thought of that, when he saw “Heat Kills” signs in Fairfield parking lots. He knows that every year, children and pets are left in cars that quickly become sweltering — even on mild days.

But Brandon did more than think.

He acted.

With the support of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, First Selectman Jim Marpe and other town officials, he’s creating signs. They’ll remind drivers not to leave kids — or pets — in closed vehicles, especially in warm weather.

The signs will be installed in town-owned parking lots, where police feel the risk is greatest. Possibilities include Parker Harding, the Baldwin lot, the beaches, Longshore and library.

After the initial rollout, Brandon will contact owners of private parking lots too.

Right now he’s working with the Staples High School art department on the design.

He’s also trying to raise the $2,500 needed to produce the signs. All donations are tax deductible, and the target deadline is April 8. Click here to help!

But whether you donate or not, remember one thing: Heat Kills!

Brandon Malin and his dog Cali.

 

David Pogue Really Loses It

Most of David Pogue’s Yahoo videos are short.

The tech guru has made a career — one of his many — providing bite-sized information on topics like how to open Windows 10’s secret start menu. They’re little snacks, to help you navigate your tech life.

The other day though, the Westporter posted a full-course meal. It’s 9 minutes long — and fascinating.

The SparkNotes version is that Pogue’s daughter Tia — a Staples High School senior — was deep into the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.

One item she needed: Get a child to write a letter to the universe. Then launch the letter into space. Oh yeah: Provide video proof too.

Tia — with a little help from Dad — managed to do it. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was really, really hard — as the video shows.

Tia and David Pogue, in their Yahoo video.

Tia and David Pogue, in a screenshot from their Yahoo video.

But it’s well worth watching, for both the technology and the surprises. Pogue is a gifted storyteller.

There’s even a cameo appearance by Tia’s drone operator. He’s Brandon Malin — a very talented Westporter.

Brandon is also an 8th grader, at Coleytown Middle School.

Yahoo!

(To watch the video — and/or read David Pogue’s story — click here.)

Droning Over Compo

David Pogue lost his drone.

Brandon Malin still has his. The other day, he took it to Compo Beach.

His photos  — 2 long-range views of Westport’s iconic shore — are spectacular. So is his tighter shot of South Beach.

This weekend will be hot — mid-90s — and clear. It’s perfect beach weather.

Whether you’re headed to Compo or wish you lived close enough to Westport to go, enjoy Brandon’s photos.

Compo Beach drone 2 - July 2016 - Brandon Malin

Compo Beach drone - July 2016 - Brandon Malin

Click on or hover over photos to enlarge.

Click on or hover over photos to enlarge.

Fun fact: Brandon is a rising 8th grader at Coleytown Middle School. “06880” will joyfully run his drone shots for years to come.

 

Even The Birds Loved Tonight’s Pops Concert

Check out this great view of the 1st-ever Staples High School Pops Concert at Levitt Pavilion, courtesy of Brandon Malin’s drone. (Click on or hover over to enlarge — you’ll love it!)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Brandon Malin)

(Photo/Brandon Malin)